Hilux, Ranger or Isuzu? Here're the best 4x4 bakkies of 2016

<b>BEST OF THE BEST:</B> Wheels24's Cyril Klopper rates the best 4x4 bakkies of 2016. <i>Image: Quickpic</i>
<b>BEST OF THE BEST:</B> Wheels24's Cyril Klopper rates the best 4x4 bakkies of 2016. <i>Image: Quickpic</i>

Cape Town - Double cabs with off-road capability is extremely popular among South African families because they offer the opportunity to go on an adventure as well as the ability to perform more mundane tasks such as the school run.

Here is a list (in alphabetical order) of popular double cabs with four-wheel drive systems. We stuck to mid-range bakkies and omitted larger vehicles such as the Nissan Patrol pickup, Land Cruiser 76 and Ford F-150.

Fiat Fullback Double Cab 4x4
Essentially a restyled 2017 Mitsubishi Triton, the Fiat Fullback is more off-road capable than you’d expect. South African versions come with a rear diff lock which isn’t fitted to European models and the same Super Select 4WD system found in a Triton.
Engine: 2.5 turbo-diesel
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Power: 131kW
Torque: 400Nm
Fuel consumption (claimed): 7.9 l/100km
4x4 system: Low range with rear diff lock.
Ground clearance: 205 mm
Price: R468 900

Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4x4
The Ranger is the proverbial thorn in Toyota’s side, and for good reason: It’s pleasant to drive even on bumpy roads and it is tough as nails. There are a huge number of models in the range to choose from, 15 of which are four-wheel drive, and they’re selling like hotcakes.
Engine: 3.2 turbo-diesel
Transmissions: 6-speed auto
Power: 147kW
Torque: 470Nm
Fuel consumption (claimed): 9.0 l/100km
4x4 system: Low range with rear diff lock.
Ground clearance: 230 mm
Price: R577 900

Foton Tunland 2.8 Luxury
This Chinese-built bakkie is powered by a super reliable 2.8 Cummins engine, but that’s not its only strong suite. Its transmission is by Getrag and the electronics by Bosch. The Tunland is destroying the stereotype of inferior Chinese engineering and it looks fairly good too.
Engine: 2.8 turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Power: 120kW
Torque: 360Nm
Fuel consumption(claimed): 8.3 l/100km
4x4 system: Low range with limited slip diff.
Ground clearance: 220 mm
Price: R409 995

Isuzu KB 300D
The KB has a reputation as a hard working bakkie that rolls with the punches and never gives up. It has an impressive  1 123kg payload capacity and an equally impressive 220 mm ground clearance. It is somewhat handicapped by a 5.3 m length though and you wouldn’t want to manoeuvre a KB through an overgrown forest trail.
Engine: 3.0 turbo-diesel
Transmission: 5-speed auto
Power: 130kW
Torque: 380Nm
Fuel consumption (claimed): 7.9 l/100km
4x4 system: Low range with rear diff lock.
Ground clearance: 220 mm
Price: R563 500

Mazda BT-50 4x4
The willing engine and accurate gearbox is a perfect combo and the low range ratios work well in rough terrain. Mazda sells around 50 units per month which is depressingly low (Hilux sells 2 730 pm). The BT-50’s silly grille and frequent service intervals deserve some of the blame because mechanically there’s very little to fault in the BT-50.
Engine: 3.2 turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Power: 147kW
Torque: 470Nm
Fuel consumption (claimed): 9.7 l/100km
4x4 system: Low range with rear diff lock.
Ground clearance: 205 mm
Price: R516 200

Toyota Hilux DC 2.8 4x4 Raider
No best-of-the-best bakkie list is complete without a Toyota in it. Like the Fiat Fullback, the Hilux benefits from being a brand new vehicle with all the technology that comes with it. But unlike many of its competitors the Hilux is showing no signs of getting softer as it evolves. It remains one of the best bakkies money can buy.
Engine: 2.8 turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Power: 130kW
Torque: 450Nm
Fuel consumption (claimed): 8.5 l/100km
4x4 system: Low range with rear diff lock.
Ground clearance: 286 mm
Price: from R508 500

Volkswagen Amarok Highline 4Motion
If you’re planning to ride through the dune seas of the Sahara or even just the Namib you’d be better served by a more powerful vehicle with proper diff lockers, but when it comes to general comfort and adequate off-road capability the Amarok won’t disappoint. We don’t like the smallish engine and low ground clearance, but oh boy it drives nicely!
Engine: 2.0 turbo-diesel
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Power: 132kW
Torque: 400Nm
Fuel consumption (claimed): 8.0 l/100km
4x4 system: Permanent 4WD with ESP.
Ground clearance: 192 mm
Price: R580 200

Why? Because you can! #AmarokWayOfLife #ToughSmart #regram @mathvasconcelos

A photo posted by Amarok South Africa (@amaroksouthafrica) on

Honourable mentions

Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up 4x4 Adventure
Scorpio owners may wax lyrical about this bakkie but it seriously needs an update. It looks old on the inside and out.

Mitsubishi Triton DC 4x4
A terrific off-roader let down by disastrous styling. The good news is that a far prettier and equally capable Triton is due in a few weeks time.

Nissan NP300 Hi-Rider 4x4 D/Cab
The Hardbody is a no-trills machine with an impressive 225mm ground clearance. Chinese manufacturers borrowed heavily from the NP300 and are even improving upon it.

Nissan Navara 2.3D 4x4 DC
The new Navara is due in March 2017 which is why it didn’t make the main list. The new model looks good and we’re excited by its imminent arrival.

Tata Xenon 2.2 4x4 DC
Known for its robust chassis and simple mechanicals, it’s kept off the list due to several quality issues. It’s fine for hauling produce, but not great for off-roading.

Dishonourable mentions

Ssangyong Actyon Sports 2.0 4WD
Yes, it has on-the-fly 4WD but it has a cramped cabin and the drive is made unpleasant by a slow steering rack and weak suspension.

GWM Steed 5 DC 2.0 VGT 4x4 Lux
Vague steering and incorrect low-range gear ratios that aren’t suited to serious off-road work really lets it down.

JMC Vigus 2.4 TD LX
Its old school technology will appeal to factory bosses but it’s not ideal for a leisure vehicle. Also, it’s not very good off-road.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
What's more important when you're deciding to purchase a vehicle?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
28% - 607 votes
Safety features
10% - 223 votes
38% - 828 votes
Good fuel consumption
11% - 241 votes
6% - 126 votes
Power figures
7% - 154 votes